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Mette Fog Olwig

The relationship between humans and nature is intrinsically political. By moving beyond simplistic dichotomies that separate nature from culture/society, political anthropology asks questions about how power relations influence which “facts,” understandings, definitions and narratives of nature prevail, and why. The chapter demonstrates how political anthropologists in studies of climate change, climate science and climate change discourse continue the long legacy in anthropology of analyzing the politics of language and deconstructing words, narratives and conventional wisdoms. The framing of climate change, and climate change discourse, has consequences, for example when defining our current epoch as that of the Anthropocene. Such a framing influences the perceived value and role of different disciplines, leads to a crisis narrative that may weaken democracy and changes political understandings of the relation between society and nature. This has important implications for policy making and practice on the ground as well as for the field of anthropology.